The religion of Zoroastrianism, which can be dated back to the 6th century, possesses a wide-range of practices, ceremonies and festivals that are performed and held. In this article, you will learn of a coming-of-age ritual, as well as a festival centered on the New Year.
Today, Zoroastrians, also known as Parsis, celebrate a coming-of-age ritual where all young Parsis have to endure the initiation process at a certain age. For followers in India, the age is seven, where Persia requires the ceremony at the age of 10. During this ritual, a shirt, also known as a sadre and a girdle called a kusti is given, which is supposed to be worn for the rest of their life.
The religion also holds purification rituals with the most important being called bareshnum, which is considered to be the most complicated. This ritual lasts for several days and involves a dog as one of the participants. The ritual is performed at a place that is considered special, where followers touch the left ear of the dog. It is believed that the gaze of the dog will send evil spirits to the air. Additional purification rituals include: padyab, or ablution, as well as nahn, or bath.
Penance plays an important role in the Zoroastrian religion, where numerous actions can be taken for forgiveness. Some of the things that followers complete for penance include the recitation of the patet with a promise not to commit another sin. In regards to sins, confessions are made to a dastur, but when one is not available, an ordinary priest must be confided to.
One of the main ceremonies that are held within the religion is called the Yasna, where a sacrifice of sacred liquor (haoma) is held. This is celebrated before the sacred fire, while reciting the Avesta. Offerings, such as bread, milk, meat or animal fat are brought. In the case of the sacred fire, it must be kept burning on a continuous basis. It needs to be fed at least five times per day. Prayers should also be recited five times per day, as well.
As for burial rites, the beliefs deal with an exposure of the dead. After death, a dog is used once more as part of a ritual. A dog is brought to the corpse, which is referred to as having four eyes. This term is given to the canine that has a spot above each one of his eyes. This rite is performed five times per day. After the first rite, fire is brought to the room and left to burn for three days. On the third day, the corpse is removed and brought to what is called the Tower of Silence. The removal must be completed during the day.
When it comes to festivals, the main ones deal with seasonal celebrations, as well as paying respect to the dead at the end of each year. Every month and each day is dedicated to a specific deity. On days that are named after the month, a grand feast is held. Bringing in the New Year, the festival Noruz is considered one that brings the most joy. Spring and autumn feasts are also celebrated within this religion.